January 27, 2016

One Hundred Names

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don't, why ever not?), then you'll know that Hubs and I took a little day trip up to Kansas City this past Sunday. The main reason for the outing was to get the front facing camera on my iPhone fixed, but we also got to walk around the cutest part of the city ever. We were able to eat at one of my favorite restaurants for lunch and then we stopped in at Barnes and Noble, a.k.a. A Bookworm's Mecca. I had no intentions on purchasing anything that day, but we all know how well that works out.

I ended up adding a new Cecilia Ahern novel to my collection, One Hundred Names. I have developed a deep admiration for Ms. Ahern's writing ever since I read P.S. I Love You, and this book did not disappoint. I finished it in two days. TWO. I could not put it down.

The story centers around a fallen journalist, Kitty, as she tries to right herself again. Her mentor, who is stolen from the world by cancer, left Kitty with a list of names as her final story, the story she always wanted to write, but never did. Under a strict deadline and enormous pressure from her editor, Kitty has to figure out what the connection is between the people on the list without any further clues. Along the way Kitty makes lovely new friends and finally remembers why she started writing in the first place.

I fell in love with the individual personalities and the bond that is formed between them. There are moments that will bring you to tears. Happy tears, of course. There is something for everyone: a little mystery, a little romance, a little supernatural, and a lot of love. Highly recommend this book. Now I'm off to find the next great story.

What was the last book you read?

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January 22, 2016

What To Pack (and not to pack) For A Cruise

What to Pack for a Cruise

The awesome thing about cruises is that you can enjoy the summer weather at any time of year. Unless you're doing an Alaskan cruise, or something similar, which are chillier. Anywho, after our first cruise this past December, and while we were more than prepared, there were still a few things I wished we had brought and a bunch of things I wished we had left at home. So, I am going to pass along my newfound knowledge to you, my lovely readers.

Things you might not have thought about taking:

1. Flushable Wet Wipes - Your butt will thank you. We use them at home, and the thought of going without them for a week was not a nice one.

2. Wrinkle Release - HUGE help. Shirts and dresses can get wrinkled so easy in your suitcase. Bonus if it has a nice scent to freshen your clothes.

3. Cheap Sunglasses - We brought our normal ones as well as a cheap pair we didn't care about losing. You never know what will happen when you get off the ship.

5. Light Sweater or Cardigan - Yes, I'm serious. Sometimes the dining rooms can be a little chilly, and the temperature can drop at night out on the decks as well.

6. Support Braces - If you sometimes need a wrist, knee, or ankle brace bring it. Lord knows what I would have done without my ankle brace. You do A LOT of walking.

7. Waterproof bag/case for Important Items - Like your phone. You don't want that stuff to get wet and ruined when you leave the ship or go up to the pool deck.

8. Nail Polish Remover - I am so glad we stopped and got some before we boarded. I love painting my nails, but all the exposure to water and sand did them in more quickly than usual. So glad I was able to re-do them and not have to walk around with yucky chipped polish all week.

9. Selfie Stick - Best. Thing. Ever. You don't have to hand off your camera or phone to a stranger if you want to get a picture of everyone you're traveling with.

10. Clothes Pins - Usually in the shower there is a pull out clothes line so you can hang up bathing suits and other things to dry. Very handy.

11. Extension Cord - Yep. There is only ONE regular outlet in your room. ONE. We were so glad to have the extra plugs for phone chargers.

What I wish we had:

1. Waterproof Camera - Oh man! I so wish we had one when we went to Stingray City Sandbar. We have zero photos of that amazing experience.

2. A zipper or drawstring bag - We had a large canvas back, but it only had a button for closure. You want a bag that zips or pulls closed with a drawstring to take with you on your excursions. We did end up buying a super cute bag in Mexico just for this.

3. More comfy clothes - As opposed to "cute" outfits. No one cares. You'll never see these people again. Be comfortable.

4. Night Light - For the bathroom. It would have some in handy for middle of the night trips.

Do NOT Bring:

1. Beach towels - You won't need them. The ship will provide them for you, and they will just be taking up precious space in your luggage.

2. Too many clothing options - Seriously, you won't need them, or want them. Honestly we wore some of our clothes for just a few hours. You could totally wear some stuff a couple of times (not in a row, or course). As a woman, I know this is really hard, but trust me on this.

3. Every Single Beauty Item - Nope. I barely used half of it. I mostly did a very simple face, if at all. Save space. Only bing the basic essentials: moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, sunscreen, concealer, etc.

4. Hair Dryer - None of the plugs will support one. There is one in your bathroom, it sucks, but it works.

Have you taken a cruise? What would you add to these lists?

January 11, 2016

Summer in the Winter

Happy New Year! We are back from our vacation and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate my bed, my couch, my kitchen, my furkids, and my home. Vacations are lovely, but coming home is always the best part.

We have great stories to tell, but I know what you really want to see is all the pictures, amiright?

We're on a boat!

Our tiny room! But we had a lovely view.

Trying to tan.

No land in sight!

Almost to Grand Cayman!

I wish we could have taken pictures of Stingray City Sandbar, but this will do.

Mornings at sea

Jamaica Mon!

We got to meet a dolphin!

The dolphin's name is Secret.

Secret likes to dance.

and give kisses


He likes to get kisses too.
Jamaica is seriously beautiful.

Norwegian's Private Island - Great Stirrup Cay

Lounging on the beach.

Can't go to the beach without a feet in the sand pic.

Sunset at sea

Don't be too jealous. We just got 2 inches of snow over the weekend. One extreme to the other haha!

January 6, 2016

Cards for Garrett

Monday night, I was introduced to the story of an amazing teenager named Garrett (thanks Aunt Sherry!). 

On January 6 of 2002, Garrett survived a dog attack that robbed him of his sight. He was left with severe facial scarring, no eyelids, no eye muscle, no tissue surrounding his eyes, and no tear glands in either eye. The hospital had never seen anything like Garrett's case before, and ended up treating him like a burn patient. After a total of 15 surgeries, months of therapy, 5 hospitals, 10 days in ICU, and a nasty infection, Garrett is still fighting. His last operation, which was in 2006, successfully opened his right eye, and his doctors said it was up to his brain to make the connections for him to see again, and there was a chance it may not happen. So far, it hasn't happened and Garrett can only see lights and shadows. His left eye, however, is unrepairable because of the skin and blood vessels from his earlier skin grafts are growing into his eye. Eventually Garrett will need more surgeries once he is fully grown. 

Despite his challenges, Garrett is thriving! After a tough and trying year in The School for the Blind, which is almost 8 hours away from home, he returned home to attended public school. He's in the National Beta Club at Hayesville High School, where he is currently mastering the 10th grade. He loves computers and when he finishes school, he wants to create computer games for the blind. This summer he is hoping to be able to get a new Macbook Pro, a new digital recorder to help him sleep (his current one is on it's last leg and going through AAA batteries so fast!), but most of all he's wishing for a guide dog. 

Recently Garrett, along with the rest of the world, read an article about a little girl who just wanted cards for Christmas (read her story here). And he asked his mom why he never gets any mail, and she got an idea. Garrett's 16th birthday is coming up on February 29th, wouldn't it be awesome for Garrett to get tons of birthday cards? 

If you want to send Garrett a birthday card, you can do so to this address:

Garrett Brown
61 West Vineyard Rd
Hayesville, NC 28904

Garrett's mom has contacted their local post office and has asked that people start sending cards early. She is going to collect them and wait until the week of his birthday and put groups of cards in their mailbox for Garrett to find each day. 

I'm picking up a card for Garrett today while I'm out running errands. And I will be praying for him and his family every day that Garrett will get everything that he needs until they find a way to restore his sight.

You don't need a reason to help people. You don't need a reason to give. But helping and giving brings joy to both the giver and the receiver.